[Octopus]: Heidi - A. Aculeatus

Discussion in 'Cephalopod Journals' started by TMoct, May 23, 2013.

  1. TMoct

    TMoct O. vulgaris Supporter

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    Yesterday I received an Abdopus Aculeatus (I guess?) from LiveAquaria.

    There has recently been some discussion about Aquatic Connection, so I should mention that I put in an order with them several weeks ago which they never filled (they didn't have any specimens in stock, so took my request as a special order). After many weeks their divers didn't come up with an octopus so I cancelled my order, which wasn't a problem with them. They were good with communication -- I just think they aren't finding a lot of specimens at this time of year. I haven't received my refund yet, but I did receive an email acknowledgment and a promise of a refund, which I expect shortly.

    LiveAquaria had a "medium indo-pacific" octopus available, so that's what I ordered. As with others' experience with LA, the packing and shipping was excellent. No ink in the bag, and a great looking specimen.


    The shipping water had pH 7.5 and 1.5 ppm ammonia (my aquarium is pH 8.4), so I drip acclimated for a few hours. Actually I would have done it more quickly but I had a meeting to go to, so I left the drip going while I went out for a couple of hours. This is the drip setup with the sealed bucket:


    And the best photos so far, taken before introduction to the tank.



    Heidi isn't really shy at all. I set up a critter-keeper within the aquarium, but Heidi was so active and didn't want to hide out in the shell, so I just released her (?) into the main tank. She explored and swam around for several hours before calling it a night.

    About the name: After explaining to my 5 year old daughter that the new octopus would probably just hide for the first day and that we might not see it, she decided on "Hidey", which I took the liberty to re-spell.

    Heidi seems healthy and vivacious for now -- I'll keep my fingers crossed. There are three small hermit crabs in the tank (so far uneaten), as well as a peppermint shrimp. I have a bunch of fiddlers on the way from Sachs Systems.

    I'll try to take some better photos, but it's tough! Heidi is either holed up in the corner behind some rocks or very active exploring and foraging, constantly moving. Also, so far she has only come out after the main lights go out (with the red night-lights on) and the ambient light is pretty low -- it's easy to see her, but hard to photograph. I may have to resort to using a flash (gasp!).
     

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  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I have found a tripod is really the best option for taking pictures in an aquarium. The flash may bother the animal (often mine get camera shy even without) but it sill also reflect on the glass. With a tripod you can slow the exposure (but it won't keep the animal from moving :wink:)

    If it is aculeatus (likely abdopus complex if it is Indonesian but we have seen several different species in the complex, some diurnal and some nocturnal), you are likely to see it out during the day after a couple of weeks. I always try to warn people (and then remind myself) that the behavior during the first month is typically NOT the behavior that follows once they fully accept their new homes.
     
  3. TMoct

    TMoct O. vulgaris Supporter

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    Update on Heidi. Actually update on Heidi 2.0. The first Heidi didn't make it past a couple of days. He(?) was very active, to the point of appearing almost frantic all the time (except during bright day). I never identified anything that would cause excess stress, but he sure appeared stressed.

    A week later Heidi 2.0 arrived, from Pete's Fish Place (nice place to deal with, by the way). This little fellow is quite a bit smaller (younger?), maybe 6" tip to tip armspan. From the Indo-Pacific, so I'm assuming probably abdopus aculeatus, but not completely sure.

    Heidi is extremely shy, really earning his name. He seems to be eating, perhaps a fiddler crab every other day, based on the empty shells. I never see him out and about or exploring, though. Luckily he has taken residence in a pretty deep hole in the live rock which faces out towards the front of the tank. During the day he is deep within the crevices of the rock, completely out of sight. At night he semi-emerges and hangs out at the mouth of the cave, so that I can see him with a red flashlight. Day after day goes by, however, where this is the only movement I see: from out of sight to sitting motionless at the mouth of the cave.

    On the one hand I suspect that this is normal behavior for a new octo, especially a young one. I know that they need to lay low to survive. However, I can't help but be a little concerned about the complete lack of visible activity. Is there anything that I should be concerned about? Are there any clues that I should be looking for to indicate health or stress?
     
  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    We occasionally see animals that appear to be in the Abdopus family but are much smaller than aculeatus, have a shorter arm:mantle ratio and are nocturnal. No species name has been attributed to them and they may not be named but don't appear to be uncommon (assumed from the number that show up). If you took any acclimation pictures, look at the length of the arms compared to the mantle. Aculeatus' mantle to arm ratio should be about 1:6 where the unknown I mentioned (if I remember correctly from the one I had) 1:4. There is another smaller than aculaeatus in the group, abaculus. It would have a similar arm ratio to aculeatus but is much smaller (not sure if this is a diurnal or nocturnal). Roy has some great pictures of abaculus, this being my favorite.
     
  5. TMoct

    TMoct O. vulgaris Supporter

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    There is not much to report, but I thought I would check in. Heidi is doing well, eating and growing a lot. She(?) is on a diet of fiddler crabs exclusively, and eats maybe one per day. I always keep a few in the tank, and she doesn't eat if she isn't hungry -- she will literally let the crabs walk over her arms, or irritatedly push them away, if she's not in the mood to eat. I've tried to feed her shrimp (uncooked but frozen/thawed), with no luck. It's actually pretty funny -- she will grab the piece of shrimp on the end of the bamboo skewer and actively push it away, holding it at arms length. I will probably cut off the fiddler crab supply and try again with the shrimp when I run out of this batch of crabs.

    Heidi is extremely shy, and not interactive at all. She is fully nocturnal, and only comes out of her den at night. If I sneak up to the doorway of the room with the aquarium and peer into the doorway, and if it's very late at night, I can see her being very active in the tank -- swimming around, exploring, etc. (There are red LEDs on all the time). If I even step into the doorway, however, she runs for cover. If I'm sitting or standing next to the tank, she will just sit still (not necessarily deep in a cave, but still nonetheless).

    One thing is for sure -- her eyesight is terrific. She can see me enter the room in almost complete darkness, with just dim red aquarium lights on.

    I'm not sure if she will become more bold as she gets older/larger. Right now her fully-extended armspan is about 8 inches. When she arrived she had 7 arms, and the 8th seems to be growing back nicely, about 2 inches long at this point. Perhaps when I get her eating shrimp, we can have more direct contact.
     
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    Good luck switching to the shrimp. Most of our octopuses will accept thawed frozen shrimp. Freshness seems to be an issue, so you could try out another source or brand if Heidi continues to refuse your shrimp. Nancy
     
  7. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    When you go to the grocery, you might also pick up a live clam or two. You can keep them in her tank until you are ready to feed them but I let them sit in a bucket of tank water overnight before offering them or placing them in a tank. Clams aid in cleaning the bottom substrate, so keeping them in the tank works well and they survive easily. For an animal this size you will likely have to open the clam and serve it on the half shell. If she does not eat it within a couple of hours, remove it. My O. briareus happily take them on the half shell but never open them for food where O. hummelincki has left them alone for weeks and opened them as a snack. O. vulgaris seem to decide the work for opening them is worth the effort and not give the clam much tank cleaning time.
     
  8. TMoct

    TMoct O. vulgaris Supporter

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    Bad news... Heidi stopped eating about a week ago and died last night after nearly 8 months with me. She always seemed very healthy up until very recently, active and eating almost every night. She was always extremely nocturnal, though -- never out and about if there was any hint of daylight. I was able to interact some late at night, but never able to take any photos and overall Heidi was pretty shy (even at night).

    I haven't seen any degradation or change to the water condition -- everything looks and tests terrific. I've never had any problems (that I know about).
     
  9. tonmo

    tonmo Titanites Staff Member Webmaster Moderator

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    :( Sorry TMoct. Thanks for sharing Heidi with us.
     
  10. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    8 months is a good run, especially for the small egg species. Consider that these are pelagic and flea sized at birth and spend at least a month in the water column before gaining fully functional arms and adult proportions then they still have to grow large enough to be seen by collectors so you can expect 4-6 months old for the youngest we see.
     

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